Not long ago, Georgi Karakhanyan was on the verge of fighting for featherweight gold in Bellator MMA before a knee injury derailed those plans.
Now, the former World Series of Fighting and Tachi Palace Fights 145-pound champion is planning on moving to lightweight in hopes of extending his career. The 31-year-old Milennia MMA representative expects to make his 155-pound debut sometime in 2017 following a 150-pound catch-weight showdown against Kirill Medvedovsky at Bellator 164 on Thursday. Bellator 164 will air via tape delay on Spike TV in the United States at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on Friday.
“I don’t think think I’ll be at 145 for a long time unless it’s for a title, then I’ll drop down to 145. I’m going to start the next year at ,” Karakhanyan told Sherdog.com. “I think it’ll be healthy for me, healthy for my career. I want to be in this sport for a long time and I feel like I’ll do really good at 55. Unless an opportunity knocks on the door at 145. If there’s any talks about at title, 100 percent [I’ll go back because last year I was supposed to fight for a belt.
“I want to fight at 55. I want to fight Josh Thomson. I want to fight Melvin Guillard. I want to fight the big names. Hopefully I can get on that January [Bellator 170] card with Chael Sonnen and Tito Ortiz.”
Karakhanyan suffered a torn ACL before he was to face then featherweight champion Patricio Freire at Bellator 138. In the ensuing months, “Insane” packed on more muscle, which he claims made the cut to 145 pounds more difficult. Case in point: Karakhanyan was three pounds heavy for his most recent outing, a rematch with Bubba Jenkins at Bellator 160.
“I put a lot of muscle on during my recovery from ACL [surgery]. My legs got pretty big. My normal weight walking around is 170-175, so I think the cut to 155 will be perfect,” he said. “Those last two weeks I won’t be stressed out about cutting weight and all that bulls—t. I’ll just enjoy the fighting process.”
Regardless of his issues on the scale, Karakhanyan was effective in the cage that night, as he knocked Jenkins out cold with an overhand right at Bellator 160. The victory ended a two-fight skid and displayed some of the Californian’s versatility.
“I got to showcase how well rounded I am and that I have a lot of power in my hands. I’m not just a jiu-jitsu guy. I’m just a well-rounded fighter. It was a lot of emotion into that right hand.…that right hand was all the way from hell. I was just throwing it to kill him,” Karakhanyan said. “I heard he said that the fight was stopped too early. I have no problem to keep punching you until you’re dead. But it’s not right for him and it’s not right for his career, and I’m glad the referee did the right thing to stop the fight early. I’m just happy to come out with the victory.”
Karakhanyan’s Bellator contract expired after that victory, but he didn’t feel like waiting until the 90-day matching rights period had passed, so he re-upped with the Scott Coker led organization, setting the stage for a new chapter at 155 pounds.
“I wanted to get the ball rolling because as a fighter, I want to fight and make money. That’s what I do. I came to an agreement with Scott Coker and we agreed on certain things and I liked the deal. And I signed with them right away,” he said. “They’re keeping me busy, which makes me happy. As a fighter I want to be busy all the time.”